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Claudia Cooney

Righttrack Consultancy

Marketing And Brand Manager

Read more about Claudia Cooney

Five reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to be the lone nut

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Finding the courage to voice or act on an idea or passion is a challenge many of us face and, before you know it, someone braver is reaping the benefits, financial or otherwise. Taking inspiration from the strangely alluring, absolute must-watch Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy, commentated by Derek Sivers, we explore five reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to be the ‘lone nut’.

1. If you don’t, someone else will

It may be a bit cliché but it is true. We live in one world, surrounded by similar stimuli, facing paralleled challenges. There is a significant chance that someone else, somewhere, will have or has already had the same idea as you.

We have all hesitated before acting on an idea or putting forward a suggestion, only to be pipped at the post…. and frustratingly, for everyone to have thought it was an awesome contribution! Don’t sit back and allow your ideas to be lived out by someone else; grab life by the horns. Be bold, be brave and be you.

What will set you from the rest is if you can find a way to feel the fear and do it anyway.

2. Feel the fear and do it anyway

For those of you not already in the know, this is the title of a book that is worth a read. But literary reference aside, this is an important point. Learning to embrace your ideas with confidence will help you grow as an individual. But best of all, moving out of your comfort zone is a liberating and addictive experience.           

Many of us have been letting self-doubt interfere for such a long time that we have come to block our own ideas regularly without even realising it. The first step is to become more aware of when you shun your own ideas, and the types of excuses you are making.

Yes, it can be nerve-wracking to pipe up when you are not sure what the reaction is going to be, but “an idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all”, said Oscar Wilde.

3. ‘An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all’ 

What Mr Wilde probably didn’t mean is that good ideas are those most likely to give the health & safety officer heart palpations. However, all good ideas bring something new to the table and with that element of unknown comes a degree of risk. If you are risk-adverse then assess what you have to lose, bearing in mind that the conditions may not be perfect, but then they rarely are!

If you haven’t got much to lose then why not have a go being the’lone nut’? After all, you are only the lone nut until the first follower!

4. You are only the lone nut until the first follower

“The first follower transforms the lone nut into a leader”.

As long as you take heed of Derek Sivers’ observations and learn your leadership lessons from the ‘Dancing Guy’, it is possible to create a ‘movement’.

Embrace the first follower as an equal, share success and keep communicating the passion! “As more people jump in it is no longer risky… the rest who prefer to stay part of the crowd [will soon join in] because eventually they’d be ridiculed for not joining”.

When you realise what a small or initially off-the-wall idea can spark, it becomes a no-brainer that sharing ideas with the rest of us, no matter how big or small, is a good idea. You could become a catalyst for change.

5. You could become a catalyst for change

Sharing out-there ideas, pushing boundaries or merely sticking your neck out for something you believe in is necessary for organisations to improve and grow, and for society to evolve.

There are numerous examples of inventors who had the very ideas that have become an integral part of our modern-day lives, mocked. Thomas Edison, for example, persevered and gave us the light bulb despite having the invention labelled as ‘a conspicuous failure’.

But what about in business?

Google, Inc. is one of the most successful organisations on the planet and five times winner of Forbes Best Place to Work. They have adopted a novel and unrivalled culture of benefit and reward, and actively shaped an environment without boundaries where creativity is a way of work.

You might think that getting rid of organisational hierarchy and adopting a completely flat structure to encourage free-flow of creativity is a risky move – but Google did it. You could say that giving maternity leavers a $500 take-away allowance (yes, as in fast-food!) to help families out during the first three months of a new-born’s arrival is a mad idea – but Google do it. And you may think it’s even crazier to even consider allowing people to switch teams whenever they want without having to bypass red tape or even ask permission – but Googlers can.

Ok so maybe we are unlikely to all start giving out a fish n’ chip allowance to new parents, but these ideas started out wacky, and have ended up working for Google. If you are an adversary of the ‘we’ve always done it like that around here’ culture then get brave. You will only be doing yourself and the rest of us an injustice if you don’t speak up.

“For earlier generations, rekindling our bravery is key. For future generations, preserving bravery is essential.” John Mertz 

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Claudia Cooney

Marketing And Brand Manager

Read more from Claudia Cooney
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